The website offers a 30-day free trial, so you click “sign up”. It presents a pretty standard-looking form that you now have to fill. You routinely begin entering your name, date of birth, address and other information which God knows why they need but you punch in anyway. You complete the form. You slide your finger across the laptop trackpad and hit “next”. There is a pause.
Then a small box appears with a simple question:
“Are you human?”
The two options are “yes” and “no”. You slide your finger across the trackpad again, bringing the cursor to the “yes” option, but then you pause.
Am I human? you wonder.
It seems obvious, but how can you be sure? You don’t actually have any proof that you’re human. Wait, this is silly. Of course I’m a human. I’ve filled in this kind of thing a thousand times before. What else am I if not human? A jellyfish?
You click the “yes” button.
The box with the question disappears and is replaced with a bigger box with nine small photographs.
The photographs are seemingly random, mostly of cars, buildings, zebra-crossings and trains, but all look like they were either taken accidentally or by someone who had their eyes closed.
Above the array of photos, it says, “Please select all photographs with zebra-crossings.”
You look at the photos. You see two photos that have zebra-crossings. You move your cursor, selecting both pictures. The two photos you select fade away and are replaced by two new photos. The prompt changes, now saying: “Please select all photos with zebra crossings until there are none left.” You look at the photos nervously. There aren’t really any zebra-crossings left. There seems to be one in the top-right corner that kind of has a zebra-crossing in view, but you aren’t sure if it counts or not. You panic.
Am I not a human after all? Do other humans struggle with this? Probably not. I shouldn’t have pressed “yes” to the previous question. I should have just been honest and pressed “no”, admitting that I’m not sure if I am, in fact, human.
The photos are still there. And you need this free trial.
You think about what to do. You take a chance and click the photo with the zebra crossing, hoping the system will approve of your judgement. The photo disappears, fading to white as the entire dialogue box also vanishes. It has accepted your input. You are relieved. It seems that you are human after all. As you rejoice at the fact that your existence is now verified by some sort of online test of visual aptitude, the website is now asking for your payment information. You have it already saved in your browser, so you click “autofill”. The payment processes. It’s done. I’ve made it. I’ve confirmed that I’m human, and now I can finally get this free trial.
All of a sudden, the payment stops processing and an error message appears:
“This payment method is already currently being used for premium subscription. What kind of human would forget that?”